As I write this, it’s 3:30 in the morning. I went to bed at midnight, and am now up in order to drive my father to the San Diego airport, from which he’ll fly to Atlanta, and then on to his home in North Carolina.
For the last three days he’s been staying at a hotel near my home. The room he’s in has afforded him a commanding view of downtown Encinitas and the pristine ocean just beyond it. It’s also afforded him a keen opportunity to be so aware of the trains that come barreling and howling just below his hotel that I’m pretty sure he thinks I got him that room just to make sure he really has recovered from his various heart attacks.
“Holy cow!” I yelled the first time one of the trains came thundering by. “I forgot about the train!”
“What?” he said. “I can’t hear you!” He looked at his wristwatch. “That’s the 12:00 express to Los Angeles! It’s running a little late!”
My dad thinks he’s real funny. He’s wrong about that — but it’s nice he thinks it.
As some of you may know (via this piece), I was last night supposed to go with my dad to the San Diego Book Awards, to see if my book “I’m OK-You’re Not” won their “Spirituality” category. We ended up not going to the ceremony, though, because my dad just wasn’t up to it. What he was up to, however, was sitting around with me in his hotel room for twelve hours smoking cigars, sipping bourbon, and listening to the Frank Sinatra I’d brought over to play on my portable CD player.
I don’t think I won anything at the SD Book Awards; if I had, I think one of the people I know who did go to the awards would have already emailed me a congratulations. No message probably equals no cool little SDBA trophy-thing for me.
I think right about the time they were announcing the winner of the Best Spirituality book, my dad and I were cracking up at the various things we were imagining must have been going through the head of the pretty hotel maid who earlier in the day had cleaned the room while he and I stood around and made exceptionally lame small talk at her.
“We’ve probably prompted her to rethink her life,” said my dad. “Thanks to us, she’ll probably go to college now.”
“Thanks to us, she’ll probably go to the police,” I said.
He laughed. And I laughed.
And in the background Frank Sinatra sang to us about how, when he was seventeen, it was a very good year.